Tag Archives: Arizona

~Birding in Arizona – a hummingbird with a red bill

~Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, Arizona, November, 2017


Broad-billed Hummingbird


The very first day, when camping, at Catalina State Park, I saw this Hummingbird. What caught my attention was a flash of red on the bill. Oh my, a red bill! I knew I had to purchase a hummingbird feeder.

While on a walk one morning, I saw a lady walking with binoculars around her neck. I stopped and asked her if she had seen the Broad-billed. She was excited to hear that I might have seen it,  but stated that she hadn’t. She told me her husband went on the ranger guided birding walk that morning and they hadn’t mentioned seeing it. She felt sure she would have heard if it had been spotted. She was a sweet, elderly lady who would stop and share birding information with us when she saw us walking. I will remember her fondly.

I noticed an RV with bird feeders hanging from the trees at their site. I stopped and asked if they had seen a hummingbird with a red bill. “Yes, she exclaimed, I have noticed it at the feeders.”

Okay, at least I had a confirmation. Turns out that, through their blog, I knew this couple.  I had read their blog many times, but had never met them. What fun! We enjoyed a couple of happy hours together and hope to see them again down the road.



I spent one week trying to capture this hummer with my camera. It was very shy, highly protective of the hummingbird feeder, and would sit hidden in the mesquite tree. After the first week, I didn’t see it anymore; I don’t know if it continued on its migration path or was chased off by other hummers.

I was thrilled to have this gorgeous hummingbird visit my hummingbird feeder.


Back in 2009, I saw this Hummer for the first time while visiting the  Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.

~Happy Birding~


Birding in Arizona – Black-throated Sparrow and others

From Cave Creek to Catalina State Park…

It is nice to have internet connectivity again. After leaving Catalina State Park we spent four nights over the Thanksgiving holiday at South Llano River State Park. Verizon just doesn’t work there at all.

These are the final bird photos from Cave Creek Regional Park in Cave Creek, Arizona. Up next photos from Catalina State Park.

~Black-throated Sparrow




~House Finch




 Phainopepias, always sitting at the top of a bush or tree making it hard to get a good photo. The male is glossy black, and has a white wing patch that is visible when it flies; the female is plain gray and has a lighter gray wing patch. Both sexes have red eyes, but these are more noticeable in the female than the male.


~White-crowned Sparrow


~Happy Birding~

~Birding in Arizona – Verdin

~Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ, November 2017

Only 4.5 inches in length it is a tiny little bird. They are tough and thrive in hot desert environments. It is among the most characteristic birds of the desert, and it has one notable distinction: it is not closely related to any other bird in the western hemisphere.

It is not only tiny and tough, but it is beautiful with its bright yellow head and rufous shoulder patches.


The tiny Verdin, a gleaner of small insects and spiders from the foliage of desert vegetation, is most notable for its nest-building behavior. In addition to breeding nests, Verdins also build individual roosting nests whose insulation allows them to survive cold winter nights.

Verdins spend the night in their roosting nests, smaller versions of their breeding nest, but the birds still lose an average of 7% of their body mass during a winter night. Roosting nests may be built any time of the year and the interwoven twig structures may remain attached to a bush or tree for years. (some information taken from various birding web-sites)


NOTE: Thanks to Gay and her blog at good-times-rollin for mentioning in a blog she wrote about setting out an orange for the Verdins. Thank you Gay! Go to her blog by clicking – Here

The Verdins loved the oranges. Try as I might, I wasn’t able to capture one of these birds in a more natural environment at Cave Creek. Hopefully, I might have one at Catalina State Park. It was so much fun watching the Verdins.

~Happy Birding~



~Catalina State Park

~Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, Arizona, November, 2017

Can’t believe we arrived at Catalina State Park in Oro Valley, AZ two weeks ago. Where did the time go? Instead of our mostly nature based activities, our time here has been filled with visiting friends.


I did manage a little birding at our site, but didn’t venture off anywhere to bird watch. I did get to see the beautiful Broad-billed Hummingbird, which was a highlight. More on birding and our visit here with photos in later posts.

We truly had a great time here in the Oro Valley, Catalina and Tuscon area. Our last visit was five years ago. hard to believe. I walked and rode my bike; Howard ran and set up his radio antenna to chat with friends on the air several times a week.

~~I know a few of you that read my blog will be visiting this area in the near future. I wanted to share with you a few things Howard and I enjoyed, especially the music.


If you like going to concerts, check out the GasLight Music Hall in Oro Valley. It is located at 13005 N Oracle Road, Oro Valley. We attended a concert by Billy Rock and the Bad News Blues Band with friends. The singer and the band were FANTASTIC! Cost was $28.00 a couple, which was well worth the price to see these talented musicians, whom have performed throughout the US and Europe.


We ate at a few of our favorite places while staying at Catalina State Park and experienced a few new places. In Catalina we like Sunny Side Up Cafe  for breakfast and Clair’s Cafe and Gallery for lunch. These eateries are where the locals hang out. Great food.

We went to The Parish in Oro Valley, which is a quirky, cajun restaurant with a full bar and beer on tap. Their Sunday brunch is very good; I had Shrimp and Grits!

If you like going to Gastropubs try Noble Hops. They have patio seating with a bar and gorgeous views of the Catalina Mountains; check out their live music offerings.

For something truly different try zPizza, with wine and beer on tap that you pour yourself. The brew and pizza were excellent.

For Chinese food try the Dragon Village and Pei Wei! For Mexican try La Hacienda Family Mexican, all located in Oro Valley.

~Grocery Stores:

I just love going to grocery stores when visiting an area. We went to the usual – Fry’s and Safeway, which were okay. However, the most gorgeous grocery store around here, IMO, is Bashas’ in Catalina. This grocery was simply gorgeous, recently remodeled and very busy.


Finally, Howard and I went to visit Biosphere 2, which was very interesting, and worth the drive and time. I hope to share photos at a later time.

~Friends- old and new:

We visited with old friends and new friends while here. We truly enjoyed seeing everyone! Special friends, special times, wonderful memories.

~In the morning:

We leave Arizona, heading into New Mexico for a one or two night stay at Rock Hound State Park, then on to South Llano River State Park in Texas. After South Llano, we will spend a few days, visiting with friends, while staying at McKinney Falls State Park near Austin.

~Life is Good, Enjoy Everyday~





~Birding in Arizona – Curve-billed Thrasher

~Cave Creek, Arizona, Cave Creek Regional Park, November, 2017


Another one of my favorite desert birds, the Curve-billed Thrasher. They sure made our visit to this beautiful park even more enjoyable. I never grew tired of hearing the “whit-wheet” call of this Thrasher.


Curve-billed Thrasher


What a beautiful colored eye!


~Happy Birding~